Battlespace Tech

F-35’s computer now integrates propulsion data

The Pentagon has approved integration of a software upgrade to the F-35’s maintenance computer system, which adds propulsion data and improved networking technology to its range of processing functions.

The Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is the F-35’s fleet management computer system, designed to reduce the cost of operations and maintenance while increasing aircraft availability. 

It is focused on condition-based maintenance technology, which uses diagnostics to monitor aircraft systems and technology to quickly identify problems and expedite repairs. If an F-35 engine or on-board avionics is nearing the end of its life-cycle, ALIS can anticipate potential malfunctions and quickly inform pilots, maintenance personnel and even senior service leaders.

The new software approval includes the Air Force F-35A and Navy F-35C. After successful flight testing, upgraded ALIS software – called version 2.0.2 – will be installed at all operational F-35 sites by the end of 2017, a Lockheed Martin statement said.

ALIS 2.0.2 now integrates propulsion data, which allows users to manage the F-35 engine from inside ALIS, eliminating the need for multiple maintenance systems and field service representatives to assist with engine diagnostics, analysis and maintenance, available Lockheed information stated.  

ALIS 2.0.2 improves the tracking of life-limited parts and streamlines resource management for deployed operations.

“This upgrade will allow deploying units to predict ‘what if’ scenarios inside ALIS, removing most of the manual planning that is done today,” said Reeves Valentine, vice president of F-35 logistics at Lockheed Martin. “ALIS 2.0.2 will allow users to forecast and make those decisions. Picking the best jets, support equipment, spare parts and personnel for the deployment and managing resources throughout their life-cycle – that type of data should ultimately translate to better aircraft availability.”

The updated software also includes a networking feature to allow for more easily established

connections between deployed locations and home stations.

Over the course of its development, lawmakers have expressed some concerns about ALIS, which has at times been plagued with problems such as maintenance issues and issues referred to as “false positives.”

“This is a new piece of the weapons system. It has been challenging. You have all this data about your airplanes. We learned some things that we were able to do in a reasonable amount of time,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, former Director, F-35 Integration Office said in an interview last year. (Harrigian now runs the air war in the Middle East. As a Lt. Gen., he is Commander, US Air Forces Central Command, Southwest Asia).

 Approval for fleetwide fielding to F-35 sites for the U.S. Marine Corps is expected in the next six weeks, a Lockheed statement said.  

The U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force declared F-35 initial operating capability (IOC) in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and the U.S. Navy is set to declare IOC in 2018. ALIS is operating at more than 20 locations and has supported more than 90,000 F-35 flight hours.


About the Author

Kris Osborn is a former editor of Defense Systems.

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